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Journal for Language Teaching

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Dictionaries as wealth of knowledge? Perceptions of multilingual education students on mobile LSP dictionaries

Michele F. van der Merwe

Abstract


Studies in user research with regard to specialised settings have not received much attention in lexicography, as has the use of dictionaries on mobile phones. This study investigated the user perspective by referring to user situations, user needs and user perceptions in a multilingual university setting. The research undertaken was unique in the sense that the author investigated user perceptions of a language for specific purposes (LSP) dictionary on a mobile phone. It presents an empirical study on dictionary use by semi-experts in a multilingual higher education setting. The major aim of the study was to describe usage situations, user needs and user perceptions of education students on the use of a multilingual mobile dictionary. A multilingual university setting is described, where the language of teaching and learning is not necessarily the home language of a student, thus highlighting the need for a specialised multilingual dictionary to be used as a source of knowledge. In accordance with the view of a dictionary as a container of knowledge, students express the need for different types of dictionary information in specialised dictionaries. Findings include the affinity of students for a mobile dictionary.

Keywords: Mobile LSP dictionary; user perspective; user needs; user perceptions; dictionary usage; multilingual university setting




http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v51i2.3
AJOL African Journals Online